Across the country today, gamers are celebrating one of the two holidays in the year dedicated to video games. In Arizona, the gaming industry is reviving itself and many new developers are beginning to gain recognition on a national scale.
“The video game industry is growing by leaps and bounds every year,” said Ben Reichert, CEO and founder of Game CoLab, a local independent gaming incubator. “With over fifty-nine percent of Americans playing video games, it’s definitely a market Arizona developers need to tap into. But they’re only as successful as the community support around them. If you’re already playing games, this Video Games Day, make sure to buy or download a locally developed game. If you’re not a regular gamer, why not give it a go?”
Here are some locally developed games:
MX Vs. ATV: This is the next installment in the popular video game series by long-time Phoenix game developer Rainbow Studios. The new game is being taken over by local game company Big Bang Entertainment. In this multiplayer racing game, players can race dirt bikes or ATVs in off-road environments that feature realistic but fun vehicle physics.
“We figured the best way to capture the spirit of the original MX vs. ATV games was bring back as much of the original Rainbow Studios team to work on the new game,” said Ken George, a developer on the project. “We’re glad we did because the new game has recaptured the fun and feel of the original games.”
Magicians and Looters: Developed by Chandler-based Morgopolis Studios, LLC, this game was just released on Steam and has been available on Xbox Live Indie Games since last year. The single-player action/adventure side scroller follows three sociopathic apprentices on a rescue mission to save their wizard.
“We began developing Magicians & Looters in 2002, back when we were still attending the UAT and for practical reasons, we stopped development in 2004,” said Justin Pereira, a member of the Morgopolis team. “In 2011, for impractical reasons, we revived the dead husk of our college sweetheart and allowed it to rule our lives for the next few years. The end result? A weird game about bomb-throwing jesters and sociopathic wizards that looks slightly outdated.”
Aztez: Currently in development by Phoenix-based Team Colorblind (whose team was noted at E3 conference by Chris Charla of ID@XBox) this game is full of interesting, black and white artistic touch–except for the blood, which stands out in deep red. There are over 30 different combat sites that are based on real Aztec cities. The PC/Mac/Linux version is set to be released this year and Xbox One, PS4, WiiU, and Vita is set to be released in early 2015.
“Being a game developer in Phoenix is unique in a couple of ways. It’s a small community at the moment; it used to be larger, but our large studios fell apart 3 or 4 years ago, taking most of the talent with it,” said Ben Ruiz of Team Colorblind. “Furthermore, the ratio of students to professionals is 20 to 1. Because of that, most industry events here are dominated by students, so all in all, it’s just difficult to connect to other professionals.The thing I like most about Phoenix is that it’s not ‘Sardines in a can’ the way other large cities with game industry are. I like the openness and the space and not constantly being in other’s people’s faces is always nice.”
Grave: This open world, survival horror game is currently being developed by Broken Window Studios, Inc. Set to be released in early 2015 on Xbox One, the game holds a unique day-to-night element, freaky characters to ward off, and surreal landscapes. The best part? The game is compatible with Oculus Rift, which allows the player to be fully immersed in gameplay.
Grave was recently featured in USA today, as well as articles by AZTechBeat:
USA Today’s Jefferson Graham and EVB Live shine the light on AZ startup scene
Developer of GRAVE releases horror virtual reality experience via Oculus Rift
Try not to scream-GRAVE brings creepy updates to its Oculus Rift compatible game
Read more about our local gaming community